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Old news detailing sports, crime, violence and suffering in Victorian Wigan. All stories taken from The Wigan Observer And District Advertiser, 1860. Material kindly loaned by Paul Byrne.


Friday, September 14, 1860.

TREAT TO WORKPEOPLE AT DOWNALL GREEN.
   On Saturday last a large number of workmen in the employ of Mr. Billinge were treated by that gentleman to a substantial dinner, consisting of the good old English fare - roast beef and plum pudding, which was exceedingly well served by Mrs. Unsworth, of the Blue Bell Inn. Ample justice having been done by all to the many good things, the cloth was removed, when the health of the Queen was proposed and drank with hearty cheers, followed by that of Prince Albert and the rest of the Royal Family. Mr. W. Adamson next rose and said he had great pleasure in proposing the toast of the evening, which was that of their worthy and esteemed employer, Mr. Billinge, by whose liberal hospitality they had just been so well entertained. He need not pass any eulogium, as they all knew full well that he was worthy of all praise and their utmost exertion at all times to complete his orders in the shortest time possible, for he strained every nerve, and left not a stone unturned wherever he thought there was trade to be done, in order to find full employment for the hinge makers, &c., of Ashton. The toast was drank with three time three cheers and musical honours. Mr. Crompton responded in suitable terms, thanking them most heartily on behalf of Mr. Billinge, and regretted that owing to other important engagements he could not be there amongst them; but he (Mr. Crompton) could assure them they had his best wishes, and were truly welcome to the generosity he had that day shown them. He sincerely hoped that each and every one would put his shoulder to the wheel on all future contracts, when stipulated to time, as they had just recently done, and thus enable their employer to secure the confidence of his customers. The health of Mrs. Billinge and the family was drank with the greatest enthusiasm. After many other toasts, interspersed with several glees and songs, the company separated at a seasonable hour, highly gratified with the evening's entertainment and amusement.



Friday, September 14, 1860.

A LONDON THIEF ENLISTING IN WIGAN.
   At the Liverpool police Court on Monday, a young man named Vivian Lewis was brought up on the charge of stealing 80 belonging to Mr. Fluker, attorney, of 10, Symond's-inn, Chancery Lane, London. It appeared that the prisoner was a clerk in the service of Mr. Fluker, and a week or two ago was sent by the gentleman to take 80 to the bank. Instead of doing so, however, he absconded with the money. Information of the affair was forwarded to the Liverpool police, and inquiries were consequently made throughout the town, when it was found that Lewis had enlisted at Wigan into the 32nd regiment of foot, and had been attested.



Friday, September 14, 1860.

FATALITY TO A CARTER.
   On Tuesday last an inquest was held before F. Price, Esq., deputy-coroner for the district, at the Bull Inn, Hindley, on the body of Robert Stirrup, a carter in the employ of Mr. Henry, of Hindley Mill. Deceased went to Manchester on the 8th instant, and returned in the evening, leaving Irlam-o'-th'-Height, in company with other carters, about six o'clock. At that time he was in liquor, and on getting a little distance on the road he began to trot his horse, and his cart being a spring-wheeled one he took the lead, a carter named Shaw following him. The journey thus proceeded for three-quarters of a mile, when Shaw heard some one call out to him that a man was hurt. He got down from his cart and went to the deceased's, when he found the deceased lying on the ground with his body crushed. The poor fellow was placed in one of the carts, to be taken home, but he died on reaching Westhoughton. On arriving at Hindley, Mr. Martin, surgeon, was called in, but of course without avail. Deceased leaves a wife and six children. The jury returned a verdict of "Died from injuries received at Worsley, but how these injuries were caused there was no evidence to show."



Friday, September 21, 1860.

STEALING A CHAIR.
   Margaret Sharrock was charged with stealing a child's chair, the property of James Derbyshire, of Pepper Mill. The prisoner was discharged on Monday by the county magistrates, before whom she had been arraigned, along with her husband, for stealing iron, the property of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, but immediately afterwards arrested on the present charge. The prosecutor's wife deposed to losing the chair, and said she saw the prisoner about the house on the morning of the robbery. - The prisoner was apprehended by Detective Whalley with the chair in her possession, and she now alleged that it was given to her by her husband. - The Bench, however, did not believe her, and committed her to prison for a month.



Friday, September 21, 1860.

A WILD IRISHMAN.
   Edward McGreavy, a harvest man, was placed in the dock on a charge of threatening to cut down everybody before him with a sickle. - Police-constable Lowe said he found the man in John-street, Scholes, in a most furious condition, brandishing his sickle about, and threatening to kill all his family, whom he had turned out of the house. - One of defendant's sons appeared, and said his father was drunk, and not aware of what he was doing. - The bench bound defendant over to keep the peace.



Friday, September 21, 1860.

A PROMISING "TRAVELLER."
   John Holden, an impudent looking youth of 15, was charged with disorderly conduct. - Police-constable Moan said he was called to put a disorderly woman from the King's Arms, when the prisoner interfered and became so rough that he was taken into custody. - The Chief Constable said the youth was the most impudent fellow he had ever seen in the lockups. When he was about to be searched he knocked the officer aside, and throwing out his arms, asked with an air of offended dignity to be "searched like a man," threatening that while the punishment he was about to inflict upon those who "dared" to interfere with him. When asked where he came from, he replied that he was not going to disgrace himself and his friends by saying who he was and where he had come from. - In answer to the bench defendant said he was a "traveller," but being pressed to explain what description of traveller, he said he delivered bills for a quack doctor. - He was ordered to find sureties, in default 21 days' imprisonment.



Saturday, September 22, 1860.

ILLEGALLY REMOVING ROAD SCRAPINGS.
   Thomas Harrison, of Hindley, was charged with removing a cart load of mire from the highway in the above township. Mr. Rowbottom, for the trustees of the Ince, Hindley, and Westhoughton turnpike road, said the scrapings of the road had been contracted for by Mr. Latham, surgeon, who saw the defendant remove a load, which he refused to give up on being requested to do so. Defendant had been asked to admit his error but he declined, and he was summoned to deter others from following his example. - Mr. Lamb said, under the circumstances he thought he should not be doing right if he discharged the defendant without inflicting a penalty, and he should order him to pay a fine of 5s. and costs.



Friday, September 28, 1860.

FOUND DROWNED IN HAIGH PLANTATIONS.
   On Tuesday, an inquest was held at the Boat House, New Springs, before C. E. Driffield, Esq., on the body of an old woman, 80 years of age, named Jane Silcock, who was found drowned in a fish pond in the plantation belonging to Earl Crawford. The deceased was one of several old people who are provided by Lady Lindsay with a home at the almshouses, in the plantation, and on Friday last she went to New Springs to see her daughter, remaining there till evening, when, contrary to her daughter's wish, the night being dark, she set out to return home. She, however, never reached there; and on the following morning a man who was passing the fish pond, which is situated about a quarter of a mile from where the old woman was directing her steps, saw a basket floating on the water, and having his suspicions roused the pond was dragged, when the body of the deceased was found in it. - The Jury returned a verdict of "Found drowned."



Friday, September 28, 1860.

ANOTHER FATAL COLLIERY ACCIDENT.
   On Wednesday a lamentable accident occurred at Haigh, at a pit now being sunk for the Earl of Crawford, to be called the No. 3 Lindsay Pit. A day and a night set of men are engaged, and a depth of about forty yards has been reached. About half-past five on the morning in question a man named Samuel Westwood, of Wigan, sinker, was at work with three other men. They had fired a shot and had blown some large stones, to one of which, weighing about six tons, a chain was fastened round, for the purpose of raising it to the top of the shaft. Deceased's companions were then wound up, he being left down to see that the stone was securely hooked. When it was begun to be hoisted he got on the stone and ascended with it, but just as it had reached the top it caught against the "take-in tree" or platform, and the hook of the chain broke, when the deceased and the stone fell to the bottom of the pit, a distance of about thirty-eight yards. Assistance at once descended to the deceased, but he was found to have been instantaneously killed. He was 33 years of age, and leaves a wife and a family. An inquest is fixed for this day (Friday).


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